Horizons Social Services, Don Kirk honored by Community Foundation

FOP Award - Horizons1 copy

Pictured are Catherine Bocke Meckes, Community Foundation CEO, and Sarah Stephens, executive director of Horizons Social Services. | Photo courtesy of the Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois & Northeast Missouri

QUINCY — The Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois & Northeast Missouri has distributed more than $12 million to date in charitable funds to nonprofit organizations since it was founded on Nov. 26, 1997. The growth and success of the Community Foundation is due to the vision and partnership of its donors, nonprofits and supporters. Two recently were honored during Community Foundation Week (Nov. 12-18) with a Friend of Philanthropy Award.

Horizons Social Services 

Horizons Social Services in Quincy received the Community Foundation’s 2021 Nonprofit Friend of Philanthropy Award in recognition of its community partnership and impact. Nonprofit recipients demonstrate partnership and collaboration, community impact, as well as dedication and innovation to deliver its mission through uncertainty.

Horizons provides nutritious meals and food assistance to disadvantaged individuals and families in Quincy. Horizon’s impact, however, runs deeper than addressing physical hunger. Its strategic partnerships with area churches, businesses and community organizations allow it to work towards its mission of feeding the mind, body, and soul.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Horizons was challenged to shift its operations due to social distancing measures while also experiencing a sharp increase in demand. Meals typically served in a communal environment had to be distributed otherwise, and Horizons adapted with a carry-out meal distribution model. Horizons became a key partner for the Community Foundation through the pandemic. The Community Foundation worked to strategically distribute $350,000 to multiple nonprofits through the Illinois COVID-19 Relief Fund to impact individuals and families hardest-hit by the pandemic.

Horizons also is the beneficiary of the Horizons Social Services Fund. Established at the Community Foundation in 2010 by a donor passionate about Horizons’ mission, this endowment fund will support Horizons’ sustainability and operations for years to come.

“Beyond the demonstrated partnership and impact, the Community Foundation deeply admires Horizons’ compassion for its clients and desire to continually improve for the future,” Community Foundation CEO Catherine Bocke Meckes said.

Horizons received the Community Foundation’s 2021 Friend of Philanthropy Award and a $1,000 grant in recognition of the award on Nov. 15, National Philanthropy Day.

“It’s always extra special when you get a compliment from someone you admire and we admire the Community Foundation,” said Sarah Stephens, Horizons Social Services executive director. 

Don Kirk

Don Kirk of Pittsfield received the Community Foundation’s 2021 Individual Friend of Philanthropy Award in recognition of his dedication to the advancement of local philanthropy and dedication to the Community Foundation’s mission. Kirk is a wealth management advisor with Northwestern Mutual. His commitment to his clients’ goals and success is mirrored in his commitment to the Community Foundation.

Kirk served on the board of directors from 2005-2010 and remains an active committee volunteer and member of the Pike County Fund Council.

“Our board members must demonstrate the virtues of trust and confidence, and Don Kirk exemplifies them,” Meckes said. “Don is committed not only to advancing the Community Foundation’s mission through his time, talent and treasure, he is committed to advancing rural philanthropy in Pike County and beyond.”

Kirk’s accomplishments with the Community Foundation include his role in sparking the concept of the county endowment fund program in 2009. This program enables counties within the Community Foundation’s service area to build a permanent source of charitable support for its needs and opportunities.

Kirk, a financial professional, continually witnessed wealth transferring out of Pike County between generations. He believed if a vehicle could be created for that wealth to be given to for charitable purposes, it could keep some of that wealth in Pike County. The Pike County Endowment Fund served as a pilot for the program, which collectively is now worth – between the six county endowments – more than half a million dollars and has granted collectively more than $86,000. 

“When we see a farmer pass away or a business owner pass away, that money usually leaves because the beneficiaries live outside of the state. Therefore, that wealth leaves the county,” said Kirk. “We thought that maybe someone would be interested in leaving some of that money here as a legacy and they can do that through the county endowment fund program.” 

As part of Kirk’s award, he was asked to nominate a nonprofit to receive a $1,000 grant. He selected the Pike County Endowment Fund. This grant will be matched through the “Double Down for Pike County” matching gift challenge. An award and grant presentation will take place Thursday at the Pittsfield Community Center.

Community Foundation Week

November offers several opportunities for the Community Foundation to reflect on the year’s achievements. The Community Foundation joins more than 795 community foundations across the country celebrating Community Foundation Week on Nov. 12-18. Community Foundation Week was created in 1989 by former president George H.W. Bush, coinciding with National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 15, to recognize the important work of community foundations through America. The Community Foundation observes its 24th anniversary on Nov. 26. 

“November is a month for us to celebrate what we can achieve when we work together. There is a tangible impact that can be seen in the lives of those that our hardworking, selfless grantee organizations serve,” Meckes said. “Each dollar that is distributed is a reflection of a generous and forward-thinking donor’s legacy and desire to do good not only today but for generations to come. We are more determined than ever to honor these legacies and intentions through grants and collaborations on both sides of the river.”

Grants are made each year from a variety of charitable funds through several grantmaking programs. Funds are established by individuals, families, and organizations to support causes close to their hearts. The funds range from specific (endowments established to benefit one or more nonprofit organization) to broad (including endowment funds to address ever-changing needs and opportunities throughout the region or for specific communities or causes). The Community Foundation also administers scholarships and donor advised funds, which allow donors the flexible opportunity to recommend grants throughout the year.

The majority of funds are endowed, meaning the principal is invested for permanent growth and only a portion of earnings are distributed each year. This means funds always will be available to support the work of nonprofits in our region. Anyone can give to any of these funds at any time to help them grow.

The Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois & Northeast Missouri builds permanent charitable funds to assist area nonprofits and communities. Its mission, “connecting people who care with causes that matter,” is achieved by gathering funds, growing them through investments, then granting to nonprofit organizations, causes or communities that mean the most to its donors.   

The Community Foundation has IRS 501(c)(3) status, and contributions made to the Community Foundation generally qualify for the maximum allowable deductions for income and estate tax purposes. 

For more information, call 217-222-1237 or email info@mycommunityfoundation.org.

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